Wednesday, November 18, 2009

St. Parascheva Day: The Bunica Side

I've written several times about my fascination with and adoration of elderly Romanians. I particularly love the old men's hats, and EVERYTHING about the old women. The word for grandma in Romanian is "bunica," and oh how I wish I had my own personal Romanian bunica sometimes! They're just so cute with their head scarves, multiple crazy patterns in their clothing, knee-high stockings, and seemingly unmanageable amounts of bags that they somehow cart around the city. Really and truly, I do not know how old people survive here. But I do know they must be darn strong (in every sense of the word) to do so.

In any event, my commentary on Saint Parascheva Day would not be complete without mention of the bunica. Because they were everywhere. It was like the whole country's worth of bunicas had come to Iasi. St. Parascheva Day should really be called A Bunica Convention Day (great acronym too- ABCD!). And while I really love them, I was also sad to see so many old women out in the cold, waiting in line for hours (days?) to touch and pray to the casket of a dead 'saint.' Especially when they could pray to Jesus from the comfort (and warmth) of their own living room. It's beyond me, but so are many things here. So amidst photographing the vast array of meat and fur products, I also captured a few collections of bunicas doing their bunica thing:

On a short list of "Reasons why I wish I spoke better Romanian" is So That I Could Talk to Bunicas. Literally, just stop one in the street, ask them her to tell me about her life. All of it. I think that a compilation of such interviews would make for a fascinating book. Perhaps someday.

No comments: